“Every silence must be carried through towards death

so that it is immortal


And every smile and tear and glance

must be detached from what is fragile and finite


Even an oak leaf cannot for ever be happy on a branch

even a dove is not for ever on a window sill


What flies away will come back

what stays will sing


Silence is the memento after everything

faithful as it were not silence after love.”


This short poem by Polish poet Anna Kamienska (translated by Tomasz P. Krzeszowski and Desmond Graham).
Nicolette says “Now and then–like the last couple days–I’d come back to this space and wait for silence to prevail. “
Posted by Nicolette Wong @

Anna Kamieńska (1920-1986) was a prominent member of that particularly distinguished generation of Polish writers who experienced the Second World War as young men and women, many of whom died at the hands of the Nazis. During the war she taught in Underground schools in the Lubin region, having studied Education in Warsaw. She continued her studies after the War and subsequently became deeply involved in the literary life of the Polish capital, working on the important monthly magazine Creativity.

Her first collection of published poems appeared in 1945, and in addition to many collections of poetry during the next fourty years she published novels, short stories, critical books on Polish poetry, and translations from several languages. Among her volumes of poetry are On Happiness (1952), Job’s Second Happiness (1974), and Two Darknesses: Selected Poems (1984), the last book she issued before her death. Her Notebooks appeared posthumously in 1987. In Poland Kamieńska’s reputation as an important figure in twentieth-century literature is now secure.

Her work was deeply influenced by the War, the Holocaust, and the suffering of Poland, as well as by more personal grief, especially as a result of the early death in 1967 of her husband, Jan Spiewak, also a poet. Kamieńska is undoubtedly a religious poet yet she is also a technically and sylistically adventurous ‘modern’ poet. Although Biblical allusions and aspects of Catholic mysticism pervade her work, there is nothing predictably pietistic about it. She has been called a Catholic Existentialist, and her admiration for that great French ‘patron saint of outsiders’, the unauthodox Judeo-Christian Simone Weil who died during the War, is significant.


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